Listen to ‘Angels & One-Armed Jugglers,’ the Title Track From Chris Barron’s New Album: Exclusive Premiere
Chris Barron, the lead singer of the Spin Doctors, is set to release a solo album called Angels & One-Armed Jugglers on Oct. 20. Diffuser is pleased to premiere the title track, which can be heard above.
The record comes after Barron suffered a paralyzed vocal cord. Even though "Angels & One-Armed Jugglers" was written before he was stricken, it proved to be somewhat prophetic.
“I wrote 'Angels & One-Armed Jugglers' on the steering wheel of my ‘03 Crown Victoria police interceptor, doing about 60 miles an hour across the 59th Street Bridge in New York City a couple of years ago. I was thinking about my neighbor, Adelaide, who lived next-door to me in the late 20th century when I got my first 'nice' apartment at 11 Waverly Place, a stone's throw from Washington Square Park. She’d been a chorus gal on Broadway in the '40s and '50s and on her mantle, she had all these pictures of her from back then. She’d been very beautiful and, even in her 80s, she was lovely. We used to sit at her kitchen table and drink limoncello and she’d tell me about meeting Richard Burton and Bette Davis, the 'fellas' who would show up at the stage door after the show and eating apple pie for a dime in the all-night automats on 42nd Street. A while after I wrote the tune, I lost my voice for a year to a paralyzed vocal cord so, metaphorically speaking, I turned out to be the one-armed juggler. I guess Adelaide is the angel.”
Those expecting the good-time, trippy grooves of Spin Doctors hits like "Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" will be in for a surprise. The sound is mostly centered around Barron's acoustic guitar, with horns on many tracks, and a crack session band including keyboardist Rob Clores and Saturday Night Live drummer Shawn Pelton. Barron shows off his versatility, ranging from singer-songwriter folk-rock ("Darken My Door") to Tom Waits-style circus music ("The World Accordion to Garp") to Tin Pan Alley jazzy balladry ("Till the Cows Come Home").
Barron has an album release show this Friday, Oct. 20, at New York's Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, and several other gigs lined up that you can learn about at his website. But he says in a press release that he remains committed to the Spin Doctors, whose last record was 2013's If the River Was Whiskey. He adds that Angels & One-Armed Jugglers is "really about learning and just expressing the broadness of my musicality. Because as a composer and a lyricist, I can’t fit everything I do into the Spin Doctors.”
At the same time, he doesn't want this to be considered as a throwaway vanity project. "I would like a lot of people to enjoy this record," Barron continues. "It would mean a lot to me for it to be well received – because in my heart of hearts, I really believe it’s a beautiful record. I got lucky with this one. It’s better than I could have imagined or hoped for. But whatever happens, I have the satisfaction of knowing I’ve made the best record that I’m capable of."
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